Choose a topic from Vol 4:

Religion - Yes or No

Necessity of Religion
Reality of Religious Experience
Religion and life
Religious statistics
Nature of religion
Necessity of worship
Neglect of religion
Religion and history
Conversion of mankind

The Christian Church

Nature of the Church
Necessity of the Church
Visible organisation
Hierarchical constitution
Papal supremacy
Perpetuity of the Church

"This Shall Be the Sign"

Notes of identification
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolic succession
"Roman" but not "Roman Catholic"

Dogmatic Authority of the Church

Authority in religion
Catholic Church infallible
The Pope infallible
Papal definitions
Dogmatic spirit of the Catholic Church
"Religion of the spirit"
Individual freedom
Re-stating Christianity
Athanasian Creed
Meaning of faith
Faith and reason
Faith and science
Religion and education
Religion and morals
Catholic countries backward
Universities and religion
Natural Moral Law
Christian principles of morality
Catholicism versus the world

The Power-Complex Illusion

Legislative power of the Catholic Church
Coercive power of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church and political ambitions
Divided allegiance of Catholics
Rome and totalitarianism
Aim of the Catholic Church in America
Catholic Action
Political freedom of Catholics
Catholic infiltration of civic life
Catholicism anti-democatic
Rival totalitarianisms, Rome and Moscow
Catholic attitude to Protestants
Spanish Inquisition
Church and State
Federal Union or "One World State"

Life-Or-Death Social Problems

Social reform necessary
Trade unions
Protestant Churches and Communism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Family life
Primary purpose of marriage
Religion and marriage
Form of marriage
Mixed marriages
Birth control
"Catholic birth control"
Divorce and re-marriage
Catholics and civil divorce
Nullity decrees
Therapeutic abortion
Euthansia or mercy-killing

Those Exclusive Claims

Divided Christendom
Do divisions matter?
The "Only True Church" claims
Cause of sectarian bigotry
Reunion Movement
Catholic non-cooperation

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom
Catholic intolerance
Protestants and the principles of religious liberty
Rome and the "Four Freedoms"
Heresy and heretics
Religious rights of Protestants
Religious persecution
"Rome's historical record"
Protestant missionaries in Spain
In Italy
In South America
Conditions in Colombia

Are Only Catholics Saved

"Outside the Catholic Church no salvation"
Beliefs of Catholics
Salvation of Pagans
Salvation of Protestants
Why become a Catholic?
Duty of inquiry
Salvation of apostate Catholics
Test at the Last Judgment
Obstacles to conversion
Truth of Catholicism

Church and State

819. Your Church claims the power to make laws, as you have often staled; and also claims to be above the civil authority.

That is not a correct statement of the position. The Catholic Church does not claim the power to make laws on purely civic or political matters. It would be against her own teachings to do so, or to claim that if she did so, such laws should take precedence over those made by State authorities. For the Catholic Church declares lawfully constituted civil authoritiy to be the supreme authority on earth within its own proper sphere of temporal affairs. That the Catholic Church claims the right to make her own ecclesiastical laws regulating the religious conduct of her own members, I admit. But so does every other Church to a greater or lesser extent. In fact, no society can exist without rules and regulations of some kind controlling both its membership and activities.

820. Will you not admit that the legislative claims of the Roman Catholic Church can lead only to endless confusion, conflict, and even to war?

As the Catholic Church does not claim the right to make any laws affecting the purely temporal and political administration of the various States and Nations, no confusion, conflict or war could arise from that point of view. Again, the laws of the Catholic Church affecting purely religious and spiritual interests cannot be the cause of confusion and conflict. If civil legislators go beyond their temporal sphere and make directly antireligious laws, then these civil legislators are themselves to blame for any confusion or conflict that may arise. But there is a third possibility. It can happen that the same thing involves both religious and temporal interests. For example, marriage has both religious significance for Catholics, and also civil effects for which the State must legislate as well. Such being the case, the Church has the right to make laws regulating marriage from the religious point of view, whilst the State has the right to do so from the aspect of the civil effects of the matrimonial contract. In all such matters, whatever they may be, which necessarily involve both religious and civil interests, confusion and flict can arise unless each authority keeps its legislation strictly within the limits of its own proper jurisdiction. Unfortunately, civil legislators I often tend to go beyond their rights, violating religious principles;, and I for any resultant confusion and conflict they are to blame, not the Church.

821. To help get the record straight, exactly what do you understand by the "State"?

The "State" is an organized community of people. In the broad sense it means all the citizens who belong to it; for human beings constitute a State. But in a more restricted sense the word "State" is used simply to mean the government of a given country, or the individual or group of individuals entrusted with authority to legislate for the general good of the community. So we say that the "State itself" forbids this or that, meaning the laws enacted by those having political authority.

822. What would you regard as the nature and the purpose of the State?

The State is an association of individuals, families and communities I united under a common authority for the purpose of procuring better both the individual and common good. The formation of civil society is based on the very law of nature itself, for man is by nature a social being. But civil society exists for the benefit of the members comprising it; the members do not exist for the benefit of the State as such, as totalitarian absolutists imagine. Human beings are drawn by a law of their very nature to associate in a well-regulated State, their common purpose being the removal of impediments to their own personal development, the preservation of tranquilly and peace, and the procuring of the means to enable them to exercise their rights, fulfil their duties, and perfect their own characters. The end the State must have in view, therefore, is to promote the common good by wise laws without undue interference with individual or family rights and liberties. And always, of course, it must avoid legislation which could in any way hinder its members from saving and sanctifying their souls, in no way putting any obstacles in the way of their attaining to their eternal and heavenly destiny.

823. Do you admit that every State has the power to make whatever laws it thinks necessary for the common good?

The governing body of any organized community must of course have the right to make any laws which are indeed for the common good, and it must also have the legal right to enforce such laws. But legal right is not the only kind of right. Those in power have not the right to make any laws they please merely because they happen to be in power. That would mean despotism. Full allowance must be made for moral rights also. And no Christian can admit the moral right of any government to enact laws opposed to the. revealed law of God or to the natural moral law. If any government does make such laws it goes beyond its authority and citizens have no obligation to obey its legislation in such matters.

824. I notice that you are putting limits to the loyalty one owes to the State. Putting it plainly, has not the State the right to decide what laws it wishes to make and enforce?

Yes, within the field of its own competence and provided the laws are in no way opposed to the law of God. Otherwise the laws would be null and void in the sight of God and citizens would not be obliged to obey them. Also, since the State exists for the good of its subjects, its legislation must respect as far as possible the liberties of the subjects, making no more laws than are really necessary to protect the common interests. The right to personal safety, to private property, to liberty of movement and freedom of worship according to each citizen's conscientious convictions within due limits should be guaranteed by the Constitution. These and other restrictions apply to State legislation, and certainly unscrupulous individuals or groups who happen to have got control of the machinery of government have not the right to make and enforce any laws they wish regardless of such restrictions.

825. At the time of the Protestant reformation, did not England rebel against a Church-controlled State?

No. Henry VIII was an absolute monarch who had all the control f j| f of the State he could wish. But he wanted also control of the Church; and he forced upon England his own decision to abandon allegiance to the Pope. That decision was due to the Pope's refusal to sanction his divorce from Queen Catherine and his re-marriage to Anne Boleyn. The Catholic Church did not refuse that divorce because it wanted to control the State, but because it was obliged to stand firm for the integrity of Christian marriage.

826. Did not the Nonconformists rebel against the Church of England because they would not submit to a State-controlled Church?

Yes. The Nonconformists got their very name from their refusal to obey the "Act of Uniformity" requiring them to confrom to the Statedominated Church of England. Catholics also joined in that refusal, although they were given the special name of "Recusants." One of the main reasons for the emigration of both Catholics and Nonconformists to America was to escape the thraldom of submission to the newly-created and State-dominated Church of England.

827. Do you deny that the Roman Hierarchy, although it did object to a State-controlled Church, still aims at a Church-controlled State?

That I deny. Catholic teaching has ever been that there are two distinct authorities, the spiritual and the temporal, both intended and sanctioned by God. The duty of the Church is to concern itself with the spiritual and eternal welfare of men's souls. The duty of civil rulers is to safeguard public order and promote the temporal welfare of men in this world.

828. Does not the Roman Church reject the very principle of complete separation of Church and State? If you say no I will have to call your attention to some rather awkward documents.

You cannot produce any documents of the Church on this subject with which I am not familiar. As for your question, I agree that the Catholic Church does reject complete separation of Church and State as a principle. But I want you to notice those last words very carefully. For there are circumstances in which the . Church is fully aware that the ideal cannot be realized. There is a difference between principles and what is practically possible. Also it is one thing to say that the Church should not control the State or that the State should not control the Church; but it is quite an other thing to say that Church and State should be absolutely separat I having nothing whatever to do with each other. A State-recognized Churc if need not involve either control of the Church by the State, or contrcJ of the State by the Church. It would mean merely the acknowledgment an^ support of each other's rights

829. In 1864 Pope Pius IX published what is known as the "Syllabus of Errors", No. 55 on the list says that the Catholic Church condemns the doctrine that the Church should be separated from the State, and the State separated from the Church.

That is true. It follows that, according to Catholic teaching, the Church on principle ought not to be separated from the State, nor the State from the Church. This does not mean that there ought to be a Church created by the State and dependent upon the State, as in the case of the State-established Church of England. It does not mean that the Catholic Church, established by Christ independently of any State ought to control the States in which it exists. It means that any State formed by people who profess the Catholic Faith has the inescapable obligation of recognizing officially the Catholic Church as the true Church established by Christ, of supporting and defending that Church, and of being guided by that Church in all matters concerning the Christian religion and the Christian moral law. That this is the only reasonable position I am quite prepared to defend.

830. In that case, the Catholic Church condemns the position prevailing in America or Australia.

That does not follow, because not all the people in those countries, nor even the majority of the people, profess the Catholic Faith. The Catholic Church declares, and every Catholic knows this, that under the conditions prevailing in America or Australia, with its people so divided religiously, the prevailing situation may be accepted as the only situation practically possible. She does deny that, according to sound principles, conditions prevailing here or there are in accordance with Christian ideals. And every Christian would have to agree with her. For if one believes that Christ is the Lord and Master of nations as well as of individuals, and that society as such is as obliged to acknowledge His laws and render Him homage and public worship as are individuals, how can he disagree with the Catholic principle? The ideal of all Christians is surely a State in which all are faithful and fervent Christians and in which both publicly and individually the rights of Christ are fully acknowledged. A secular State, which officially ignores the Christian religion even though it tolerates its existence, is not a Christian State.

831. Did not Christ Himself say: "My kingdom is not of this world?" He would not want the control of politics.

Forget about the control of politics. The Catholic Church does not want that. But do not forget that Christ said also: "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth." Matt., XXVIII, 18. When He said: "My kingdom is not of this world," John, XVIII, 36, He did not intend that this world was not subject to His authority. He meant that His kingly power is not of this world by origin. It is not we who have conferred upon Him the rights He has over us all. As for controlling politics, it is true that He leaves that, as a matter of purely temporal administration, to earthly rulers. But those rulers have no right to behave as if they owed no allegiance whatever to Him. They are obliged to conduct affairs of State in such a way as at least not to conflict with any of His religious teachings or moral principles.

832. Would you please explain exactly the Catholic position in this matter, about which there is so much confusion?

The Catholic Church rejects the principle of complete separation of Church and State. This does not mean that she advocates a Church-controlled State. She insists that political authority belongs to lawfully-constituted civil rulers. According to Catholic teaching, the theoretical ideal is a Christian population in which all profess exactly the same Faith, forming one nation from the secular point of view and one Church from the religious point of view. The whole nation, political rulers and subjects alike, would then accept religious and moral guidance from the Church Christ sent to teach all nations, and gladly maintain it in its religious, educational and charitable activities. On the other hand, the Church would inspire the perfect fulfilment by her members of all their civic duties. All would thus render to God the things that are God's, and to "Caesar the things that are Caesar's," Mark, XII, 7; Luke, XX, 25, as we are bidden as Christians to do. But whilst that is the ideal, such conditions are nowhere realized in this world. Nevertheless the ideal remains one at which we should aim, and try to attain to in practice as far as we can. Needless to say, it will never be realized in its perfection, human nature being what it is.

833. Do you deny that ours is a Christian country?

I do. I do not deny that most people in this country profess to be Christians in one form or another. But that does not make ours a Christian country as such. As such, and officially, ours is a religionless and secular nation. Our politicians make laws without any question as to whether those laws are in accordance with Christian principles or not. I have never yet heard of a representative bringing into a legislative assembly a copy of the Gospels and asking members to consider seriously whether a proposed measure is in harmony with their teachings. And in fact, many laws prevailing in our midst are definitely opposed to sound Christian principles. Although Christ forbade divorce and remarriage, the State permits it. Although God declared: "Thou shalt not kill," the State allows murder disguised under the name of "Therapeutic Abortion." Education is secularized, the Christian religion being regarded as a purely individual and private affair not obliging the State as such. As far as the State is concerned, it just does not matter whether religion or scepticism or straight-out atheism prevails amongst its citizens. That does not mean a Christian State.

835. If the Roman Church secured control in this country, what would be its political policy?

It would not have one. It would leave it to the people themselves through whatever form of legislative authority they might prefer, to decide upon their own political program. But, as I have said, there is little likelihood of Catholics attaining a majority in this country within any measurable period of time. And we Catholics admit that no State could be expected to recognize as the nationally-acknowledged Church one which was not representative of the religious convictions of at least the majority of the people. As things are at present in this country, the State has no option but to adopt an attitude of impartial tolerance towards all religions. But we Catholics hold that, under present conditions, the State should grand financial assistance to the Churches - and to all of them, not only to the Catholic Church - for such social welfare work as they do which the State itself would have to do if the Churches did not undertake it from religious and spiritual motives. That is a just claim, which does not involve special privileges to one religious group rather than to another; and if the law of the land does not at present permit it, the law should be amended to make it possible.

836. If the Catholic Church did obtain State-recognition, as you prefer to put it, would not that mean control by the Pope?

State-recognition of the Catholic Church would by the very fact mean recognition of the Pope's spiritual authority. How could it be otherwise, since recognition of the Catholic religion implies by the very fact recognition of the cardinal doctrine of Papal supremacy. But there could be no question of Papal control over any purely temporal matters. In matters of mixed temporal and spiritual importance, the State would adjust its legislation to Christian requirements as declared by the Church. Or at least, it should do so. Owing to the perversity of even Catholic politicians it does not always happen that way in the few countries today which do officially recognize the Catholic Church as that of the Nation.

837. Would not Catholics then be obliged to be loyal to the Pope rather than to their country?

Catholics would owe temporal loyalty to their country, and spiritual loyalty to the Pope. If the country demanded a loyalty to itself at the expense of spiritual loyalty to the Pope within the Pope's just claims, then a Catholic who wanted to remain a good Catholic would have to prefer his spiritual loyalty to the Pope. It was in fulfilment of that duty that St. Thomas More, one of the greatest Englishmen of all the centuries, went to his death. But what does this really mean? It means merely that religious and conscientious convictions come before all other obligations. Any good Methodist, or Anglican, or Presbyterian would have to admit that principle. Protestants may differ from Catholics as to the final religious authority they acknowledge, preferring their Conference, or Synod, or Assembly to the Holy See occupied by the successors of St. Peter. But they would have to admit that, if State laws demanded anything of them which their Conference, or Synod, or Assembly declared to be absolutely opposed to the law of Christ, they must obey the law of Christ rather than the contrary laws of men. Of course, if a man had no religion and no moral principles, then the only authority for him would be that of the State, and he would probably accuse of disloyalty anyone who declared that there was any authority anywhere higher than that of the State. But apart from that position, one has no choice but to admit the reasonableness of Catholic principles in this matter.



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